As warm as the sun felt today with a high temperature in the Morristown area of approximately 57 F degrees, this day does not come close to the Morristown record for January: 70 F degrees sixty-six years ago in 1950 on the approximate date of January 26.
The irony of the mild weather forecast this week is that most lakes and bodies of water in Morris County are either completely, or mostly, frozen. This is evidenced by the number of parka-clad ice fishermen on Lake Hopatcong this morning. The opportunistic Great Blue Heron in the photo below calmly waited for a free handout that eventually came its way.
Of course, ice means that birds are scarce at New Jersey’s largest lake. 64 Mute Swans crowded the thin sliver of open water near Halsey Island along with a handful of American Coot and three Lesser Scaup. Gulls and crows were scattered over the ice.
Even the usually reliable dock areas that use pumps to keep the water from freezing are frozen and birdless.
All Things Birds Field Trip
11 participants plus 2 trip leaders took part in a New Jersey Audubon All Things Birds field trip to the Great Swamp NWR on Saturday, Jan. 30. The early morning temperature of 18 F degrees soon gave way to sunshine and warming temperatures.
Species variety is diminished in the Morris area, especially after last weekend’s blizzard. Highlights were good views of the stationary and continuing immature Red-headed Woodpecker at the bridge by the headquarter’s driveway; a hunting Merlin was a treat to see; and the resident Bald Eagles may be up to something this year
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